Afghan troops kill over 60 Talibans after US base takeover
Published : Tuesday, 4 May, 2021 at 1:27 PM Count : 216
The Afghan government has said that it had killed more than 60 Taliban insurgents in a series of offensives against the group after assuming control of a key US military base.
“Backed by aerial support, the operations were conducted independently by local forces without any aid, cooperation or involvement of foreign troops,” Fawad Aman, a defense ministry spokesman, told Arab News on Monday.
“During the past 24 hours, 62 Taliban were killed, and 58 others were wounded in these operations,” he said.
The assaults covered several provinces in the south, northeast and eastern regions of the war-torn country, with a focus on the Ghazni province, to the southwest of Kabul, and the southern Helmand province where the US military formally handed over control of the Camp Antonik base to the government on Sunday.
Aman said that the operations were in response to the Taliban’s “provocations” and were aimed at “destroying their planning centers, used for attacking government forces.”
He declined to share the exact number of casualties suffered by the Afghan forces during the clashes. However, two security sources, requesting anonymity, said that more than 40 Afghan police and troops had died in the crackdown.
Meanwhile, in comments to Arab News on Monday, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, accused Kabul of “showing and testing its force by launching the operations on Taliban-held areas, forcing the Taliban to prevent and respond.”
He refused to comment on how many Taliban members had been killed in the attacks.
With the fate of the US-sponsored peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in limbo, there has been an escalation of violence in recent weeks.
It is expected to spike in the coming months as US-led troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, amid fears of the country descending into another civil war.
By formally ending its most protracted conflict in history, which Washington started in late 2001 by ousting the Taliban from power, the US military began withdrawing the remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan on Saturday, based on a directive issued by American President Joe Biden last month.